May is Military Appreciation Month and while it’s always a great time to appreciate our military members, we want to take this opportunity to focus on a unique challenge our military faces – Isolation.
From intense training sessions to long deployments, our military and their families are subjected to some stressful situations. Often times, these circumstances take a toll on the Veteran because they’re required to perform their duty while separated from loved ones. As a result, these conditions can negatively impact a person’s mental health.
How it Begins
On the surface, it may not seem as though military members are being isolated. After all, deployments and training sessions normally involve groups of fellow Soldiers, Airman, Sailors, Marines, etc. However, despite deploying (or training) alongside comrades, they’re all in a similar situation – being detached from their main support system.
Manuel Hernandez, a Licensed Professional Clinician (LPC) at the El Paso clinic, notes that these moments of separation can cause feelings of isolation. He goes on to state that eventually, this isolation can manifest into something greater such as “adjustment issues, trauma, anxiety, [and] depression”.
A Vicious Cycle
Alternately, our military members may find that isolation can be a result from other issues and mental illnesses.
San Antonio clinician Laillah Guice supports this stating, “Some veterans that struggle with mood conditions or chronic stress will just isolate.” Despite the negative affects this brings, she explains how isolation “may sound logical [to the Veteran]” when he/she feels that “withdrawing from family and friends is beneficial for everyone involved.”
When a service member withdraws from family and friends, the result can create a slew of other issues followed by more isolation, thus presenting a vicious cycle.
While the aforementioned issues can create barriers, many of which may prevent an individual from finding the right counselor or clinician to help, there may be a solution – education.
Support groups and pre-deployment counseling can help educate our military and their loved ones on what to expect during upcoming deployments. Many installations (i.e. bases, posts, stations) offer these types of counseling, in addition to support groups for spouses (and families) with deployed loved ones.
Perhaps with education, we can help our military community better prepare for these stressful deployments and training sessions. Regardless of one’s role, talking to someone in a similar situation may be the supportive solution a person needs.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with getting back to better, or may be looking for high-quality, accessible mental health care for Veterans and their families, please contact us – we’re here to help! Endeavors passionately serves vulnerable people in crisis through our innovative, personalized approach.